The October Mating Dance, from the Eyes of the Anthropological Observer

In case you were not aware, it is mating season amongst the homo sapiens sapiens of the Northern Hemisphere.  At least I’m led by observation to believe this.  This is the time of year when people keep pairing off in overwhelming numbers:  it happened in high school, in college, and even so far in my adulthood.  Maybe it’s the new lower temperatures, reminding us of the warmth a mate could add to our beds.  Relationships form, marriage proposals are made, and love accompanies the fresh biting chill in the air.  As my friend Leslie pointed out, “Fall is for falling in love!”

And yet again, I feel a little like the kid picked last for dodge ball.

Looking back at my own minimal dating history, I realized this morning that both serious relationships I’ve been in started in October.  I’m sure this is mere coincidence…mostly.  But that’s two Octobers out of about fifteen years of interest in the opposite sex.  The other thirteen have been spent watching couples new and established cuddling and cooing and planning matching Halloween costumes, ever the anthropologist, observing but not participating.

Usually my oddly optimistic cynicism kicks in, inspiring me simultaneously to remind myself my time will come and to make pretend vomit noises at all the happy couples.  I proclaim myself to be above all the lovely-dovey mush, dissuading myself of the envy I feel.  I try to focus on the positive:  I can come up with my own last-minute obscure costuming ideas for our culture’s version of Samhein, not having to coordinate with anyone or end up stuck in the back half of a horse trailing behind some guy all night.  I can spend all that time my friends are spending with their significant others cleaning my apartment or catching up on projects or writing or choreographing.  Who’s got time for a fellow with all this stuff to do?

And yet, there is always that part of me that can’t quite quiet the envy.  If it gets cold in the middle of the night, I have to get up and get an extra blanket or turn on the heat instead of curling up to a warm body on the other side of the bed.  If I ever do actually get around to going as Zoe from Firefly for Halloween, will anyone get it without a Captain Mal by my side? (I’m a pasty white girl, after all; it’s never going to be entirely obvious.)  I may be able to open the jars and dispose of the bugs on my own (not lizards, though; I have to get Ren for those); I may be okay alone, but times like this it sure seems like it might be nice to be part of a pair.

In the show the dance company is doing right now, my character is…how do I put this nicely?  Liberal?  A free spirit?  Let’s just say she gets around.  There are times in the show where I have to flirt with the musicians, and one of the other girls in the company commented last night on how good I am at it.  I responded with a laugh, “Yeah, if only I could do that in real life.”  She told me I should, but I don’t think she understood me.  I can’t do that in my real life because it’s acting.  It’s fake.  It’s not me; it’s not who I am.  It’s easy for me in the show because I’m just playing; if I tried that in my day-to-day existence it wouldn’t work the same.  I’m too sincere of a person, and it just feels like lying.

So how do I, a shy and reticent woman of character, attract a mate?  I know about three single guys right now.  One of them is the crush who has a crush on one of my friends.  Another is kind of an asshole.  The third is shortly moving away.  As I discovered a couple of years ago, online dating is not an effective method for me; I can’t tell until I meet someone in person whether I will be attracted to them at all, no matter how accurate their profile pictures may be.  In this fast-paced world of social media and ever increasing online interaction, a shy person who takes time and face-to-face interaction to get to know someone feels inevitably left behind.

Sorry.  It seems Prozac makes me highly introspective and analytical.  This is only my second round of the two-week stints I’m supposed to take for my PMDD, so I’m still learning how it affects me.  I meant for this to be a lot lighter than it ended up…think of a joke, Amanda, think of a joke…

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